Ruth Asawa and my crystal ball

The other day I was introduced to the rather wonderful work of the artist Ruth Asawa (1926-2013). She is perhaps best known for her intricate nature-inspired sculpture made of metal wires, many of them public commissions around the San Francisco Bay area. Her three-dimensional work makes for very visually interesting patterns when reduced to two dimensions, as you can see in this newly released set of Ruth Asawa stamps.

Crystal Ball 2 © Harold Davis

Crystal Ball 2 © Harold Davis

Overnight I had a dream. In my dream, I saw the designs of Asawa rendered into two dimensions (as in the stamp set), and decided to create an image in emulation of this “look”. In my dream, I saw myself making this image using my camera, and in Photoshop, and then printing it on textured paper.

In the morning, I got to work. I started with a light box photograph down on a crystal ball, nestled in a parfait glass. As an aside, I find myself saying these days that my crystal ball is definitely not clear these days!

Crystal Ball 1 © Harold Davis

Crystal Ball 1 © Harold Davis

Using my crystal ball photo, I went through various iterations, adding Photoshop compositing and LAB L-channel inversions, ending up with the two versions you see here. This took all day, and I don’t necessarily feel that I came up with what I wanted to come up with. The apparent simplicity and references to nature of the Asawa designs are missing. I wasn’t able (yet!) to recreate my work as seen in my dream. But I did come up with something.

Related stories: Tacked to a Virtual Wall; Play it again mit feeling; Spirals of the Heart; Falling into Spirals.

This entry was posted in Patterns, Photography.

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